MEAT the Future In 1932, Winston Churchill predicted that in fifty years “we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing by growing these parts separately.” Today, almost eighty years later, science may finally be getting close to producing In Vitro meat - muscle tissue grown in the lab without the rest of the animal.
What is In Vitro Meat? In Vitro Meat, also known as cultured meat, shmeat, hydroponic meat, test-tube meat, vat-grown meat, and victimless meat is the idea of manufacturing meat products through tissue- engineering technology. The main purpose of this progressive technology is to produce animal meat without using an actual animal. Basically cells are taken painlessly from live animals and are put into a culture media where they start to multiply and grow, independently from the animal.
Why would we need In Vitro MEAT? Humans have been eating farm-raised meat for centuries, so why would wechoose to eat meat produced in a lab? As the demand for meat grows across the globe, itis necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of current meat production.It is important to consider that developing in vitromeat concerns large-scale meat productions. Large amounts of fossil fuels are burnedthroughout the process of meat production in the production and transport of the housing,transportation, and slaughter of livestock. There are also various potential health benefits to eating meat produced inlaboratories. For instance, contamination with bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli could bereduced. In vitro meat production could eliminate contact with animal contaminants likefeces, thus helping tore solve the most common cause of food-borne illness. Tightlycontrolling the percentage and types of fat could also make lab-grown meat healthier. Invitro meat could also be produced with limited amounts of saturated fats and instead berich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
According to the United Nations Food and AgricultureOrganization, raising livestock produces twenty percentof human-related greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, it isresponsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than thetransportation sector. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. “Livestock’s Long S hadow.”2006. http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM MEATYFacts!
How do you grow In Vitro MEAT in the lab? The meat we eat is muscle produced from livestock. One way to produce muscle tissue in the lab is to grow cells that are capable of becoming muscle cells and organizing themselves into muscle tissue. To date, most current work has focused on the use of adult stem cells from livestock to grow In Vitro meat. Adult animals have muscle stem cells called “myosatellite” cells that are responsible for muscle growth and repair. Scientists can obtain these stem cells from animal tissue by extracting the muscle stem cells from the material that holds it. The cells grow in plastic dishes bathed in a nutrient rich liquid. They then grow and divide, making more muscle cells. Scientists try to imitate the conditions that produce muscles in animals. They use electrical, physical, or chemical methods to increase protein content in the muscle cells and to try and replicate the texture of muscle from an animal. To create edible meat, scientists would harvest the muscle fibers created in the lab, grind them, and add flavor and nutrients to produce something like hamburger or sausage. Current research is focused on creating in vitro meat with a texture similar to conventional meat and developing the technology to grow large amounts of In vitro meat at an affordable price.
“ We already know that pretty soon we are going to Mars and we will need to produce food there. This is not that far away. NASA will probably bethe first to use this technology but then it could be transferred to the rest of the world.”- Dr. Mirko Betti, a Canadian food science researcher MEATY Quotes!
A simple Diagram for the Process of InVitro MEAT: 1. Take a small biopsy 2. Extract mayosatellite cells 3. Add animal-free growth serum to multiply cells 4. Grow cells on scaffold to form mayofibres which bind together to form muscle 5. Exercise muscle to boost protein 6. Grind up thousands of muscle strips 7. Add flavor, iron and vitamins 8. Cook and EAT!
Why isn’t there In Vitro MEAT on myplate right now? A major hurdle facing the development of In Vitro meat is the nutrient liquid the cells use to grow and divide in the lab. A major component of this liquid comes from animal blood, which is both expensive and somewhat also defeats the purpose of In Vitro meat. Animal-free alternatives have been tested, including components taken from mushrooms and algae, but these are too expensive to be used for large- scale production. Another challenge of In Vitro meat production is the difference in texture between lab-grown and natural meat. In an animal, large masses of muscle tissue are able to survive and grow because a vast network of blood vessels delivers nutrients to cells throughout the tissue. In order for the nutrient rich liquid to reach all cells, current lab-grown muscle can only be made in small pieces and used to make ground meat like hamburger. Until scientists develop a way to nourish cells of larger portions of muscle tissue, a lab-grown steak remains an idea of the future.
Cons: 1. Very expensive to produce with current technology 2. Requires enormous investment for Research & Development 3. Unnatural 4. People might be reluctant to switch over from normal meat 5. Limited to ground meat 6. Subject to media criticism 7. Possible unknown health consequences
Pros: 1. Potentially cheaper to produce than regular meat 2. Requires less food input 3. Requires less real estate 4. Requires less water 5. Produces less waste 6. Cleaner 7. More ethical in terms of animal welfare 8. Healthier 9. Prevents climate change/global warming 10. Better for public health
Juicy In Vitro MEAT Videos: Science in Seconds - In Vitro Meat In-Vitro Meat: Bring it on! Meat The Future
Will you ever beable to look atmeat the same way?
Bibliography (APA-Style):• Brain, M. (n.d.). How In-Vitro Meat Works – creating meat without killing any animals – The Blogs at How Stuff Works. The Blogs at How Stuff Works. Retrieved April 29, 2012, from http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/2009/11/18/how-in-vitro-meat-works-creating-meat-without-killing-any-animals/• In Search of a Test-Tube Hamburger - TIME. (n.d.). Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012, from http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1734630,00.html• In Search of a Test-Tube Hamburger - TIME. (n.d.). Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012, from http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1734630,00.html• In vitro meat, new technologies, and the “yuck factor” | Practical Ethics. (n.d.). Practical Ethics. Retrieved April 29, 2012, from http:// blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2012/03/in-vitro-meat-new-technologies-and-the-yuck-factor/• In-Vitro Meat: More research, more questions « Aesthetics of Everywhere. (n.d.). Aesthetics of Everywhere. Retrieved April 29, 2012, from http://crystalbae.com/2011/05/19/in-vitro-meat-more-research-questions/• The In Vitro Meat Consortium - Home. (n.d.). The In Vitro Meat Consortium - Home. Retrieved April 29, 2012, from http://invitromeat.org/• soon., &certain., a. (n.d.). Eight Ways In-Vitro Meat will Change Our Lives. H+ Magazine | Covering technological, scientific, and cultural trends that are changing–and will change–human beings in fundamental ways. Retrieved April29, 2012, from http://hplusmagazine.com/2009/11/17/eight-ways-vitro-meat-will-change-our-lives/